Originally created 02/18/99

Lakers again beat Mavericks



INGLEWOOD, Calif. -- Shaquille O'Neal believes nobody can guard him one-on-one under the basket.

Especially not A.C. Green.

O'Neal, a 7-foot-1, 315-pounder, scored 11 of his 24 points in the first 7:12 of play while being guarded by the 6-9, 225-pound Green to get the Los Angeles Lakers off and running in a 101-88 victory over the Dallas Mavericks.

"Nobody's an even match on me down there, I don't care who it is," said O'Neal, the NBA's leading scorer. "One-on-one, that's my rent money down there. I can't let anybody take my rent money."

The win was the second lopsided triumph in two nights for the Lakers (5-3), and their 14th straight victory over Dallas since 1995.

The loss was the sixth in a row for the Mavericks (1-7).

O'Neal left the game for good with 2:17 remaining in the third quarter and the Lakers leading 80-57. He didn't play in the final 17 minutes of a 116-88 win over Charlotte on Tuesday night.

"When we're up by 20, 25 points in the fourth quarter, I'll chill," O'Neal said. "It's a long season. The guys have got to do a better job holding the lead. They almost had to put the black Superman back in there."

The Lakers led 53-37 at halftime, and Dallas wasn't closer than 12 points in the second half. Los Angeles led by as many as 27 points in the third quarter before settling for an 84-63 lead entering the final period.

The Mavericks scored nine straight points capped by Hubert Davis' 3-point shot with 3:15 left to make it 96-84, but that was as close as they would get.

"We're glad to get the win," Lakers coach Del Harris said. "We did some good things for three quarters, then kind of played fat-cat ball in the last quarter. It happens sometimes with a 25-point lead, but you never like it."

Kobe Bryant had 23 points and nine rebounds; Eddie Jones added 20 points, and Derek Fisher had a season-high 12 points, five rebounds and six assists for the Lakers.

Reserve Gary Trent led Dallas with 15 points and seven rebounds. Michael Finley added 12 points and Cedric Ceballos, another former Laker, had 11 points and eight rebounds.

"It was a pretty disappointing first half," said Mavericks coach Don Nelson, whose team is in the middle of a seven-game road trip. "We just don't have enough players playing well enough. A lot of the players on the team need to upgrade their game. That's it in a nutshell."

The Lakers scored seven straight points -- four by O'Neal -- to snap a 6-all tie and go ahead for good. The Mavericks helped in the early going by missing 12 of their first 14 shots.

It was 24-20 entering the second quarter, and Bryant scored eight points to spark a 12-6 run to start the period, making it 36-26.

The Mavericks scored the next four points before the Lakers ran off 11 straight to make it 47-30.

"We really don't know each other," said Mavericks point guard Steve Nash, who has just four points and five assists. "We're still trying to find ourselves. It's going to take some time."

Three Lakers were unable to play because of various ailments. Robert Horry missed his third straight game due to an irregular heartbeat. He will be re-evaluated Thursday. Rookie Sam Jacobson has a broken ring finger on his left hand, and rookie Tyronn Lue has been experiencing back spasms.

Notes:The game was played before a crowd of 13,492. ... There was no news on the Dennis Rodman front. The NBA's leading rebounder each of the last seven seasons was reportedly on the verge of signing with the Lakers several days ago and still might. ... The Lakers have a 65-16 overall record against the Mavericks -- 34-7 at home, and 31-9 in Dallas. ... The Mavericks shot just 4-of-12 on free throws in the first quarter while the Lakers made their only attempt, by O'Neal. Only two fouls were called against Dallas in the opening 12 minutes compared to eight for Los Angeles. The Mavericks finished with 27 fouls to 18 for the Lakers. ... The Mavericks didn't commit a turnover in the first period. ... Green started for the Mavericks, extending his consecutive game streak to 986 -- an NBA record. He is scheduled to play in his 1,000th straight game March 13 against Vancouver.